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[[Image:Marija-Gimbutas-newgrange.jpg|thumb|right|187px|MarijaMaria Gimbutas bymense KerbstoneSeptembii 52,1989 at the back of [[Newgrange]], [[Co. Meath]], [[Ireland]], in September 1989.picta]]
 
'''Maria Gimbutas''' ([[Lituanice]] ''Marija Gimbutienė'') ([[Vilnius|Vilnii]] nata die [[23 Ianuarii]] [[1921]]; mortua [[Angelopolis|Angelopoli]] die [[2 Februarii]] [[1994]]) fuit archaeologa qui de originibus [[Linguae Indoeuropaeae|Indoeuropaeis]] operam dedit.
'''Maria Gimbutas''' ({{lang-lt|'''Marija Gimbutienė'''}}) ([[Vilnius]], [[January 23]], [[1921]] – [[Los Angeles]], [[United States]] [[February 2]], [[1994]]), was a Lithuanian-American [[archeology|archeologist]] known for her research into the [[Neolithic]] and [[Bronze Age]] cultures of "[[Old European Culture|Old Europe]]", a term she introduced. Her works, published between 1946 and 1971, introduced new views by combining traditional spadework with [[linguistics]] and [[mythology|mythological]] interpretation, but earned a mixed reception by other professionals.
 
==Early lifeOpera ==
Gimbutas was born as '''Marija Birutė Alseikaitė''' to Veronika Janulaityté Alseikiené and Danielius Alseika in [[Vilnius]], the capital of [[Lithuania]], which was then a Polish city. Her parents were members of the Lithuanian [[intelligentsia]], a [[social class]] which rose from the farming class during imperial Russian rule.<ref name="WareBraukman234">{{Harvnb|Ware|Braukman|2004|p=234}}.</ref> Her mother received [[doctorate]] in [[ophthalmology]] at the [[University of Berlin]] in 1908 and became the first female physician in Lithuania, while her father had received his [[medical degree]] from the [[University of Tartu]] in 1910. After the 1917 [[Russian Revolution (1917)|Russian Revolution]], Gimbutas' parents had founded the first Lithuanian hospital in the capital.<ref name="WareBraukman234"/> During this period, her father also served as the publisher of the newspaper ''Vilniaus Žodis'' and the cultural magazine ''Vilniaus Šviesa'' and was an outspoken proponent of Lithuanian independence during the [[Polish–Lithuanian War|war against Poland]].<ref>{{Harvnb|Marler|1998|p=114}}.</ref> Gimbutas' parents were [[connoisseur]]s of traditional Lithuanian folk arts and frequently invited contemporary musicians, writers, and authors to their home, such as [[Vydūnas]], [[Juozas Tumas-Vaižgantas]], even [[Jonas Basanavičius]].<ref name="Marler115">{{Harvnb|Marler|1998|p=115}}.</ref> With regards to her strong cultural upbringing, Gimbutas said:
<blockquote>
I had the opportunity to get acquainted with writers and artists such as [[Vydūnas|Vydunas]], [[Juozas Tumas-Vaižgantas|Vaižgantas]], even [[Jonas Basanavičius|Basanavičius]], who was taken care of by my parents. When I was four or five years old, I would sit in Basanavičius's easy chair and I would feel fine. And later, throughout my entire life, Basanavičius's collected folklore remained extraordinarily important for me.<ref name="Marler115"/>
</blockquote>
 
Gimbutas settled in the [[temporary capital of Lithuania]] of [[Kaunas]] with her parents in 1931, where she continued her studies. That year, her parents separated and she lived with her mother and brother, Vytautas, in Kaunas. Five years later, her father died suddenly. At her father's deathbed, Gimbutas pledged that she would study to become a scholar: "All of a sudden I had to think what I shall be, what I shall do with my life. I had been so reckless in sports—swimming for miles, skating, bicycle riding. I changed completely and began to read."<ref>{{Harvnb|Marler|1998|p=116}}.</ref><ref>{{Harvnb|Marler|1997|p=9}}.</ref>
 
For the next few years, she participated in [[ethnography|ethnographic]] expeditions to record traditional folklore and studied Lithuanian beliefs and rituals of death.<ref name="WareBraukman234"/> She graduated with honors from Aušra Gymnasium in Kaunas in 1938 and enrolled in the [[Vytautas Magnus University]] the same year, where she studied [[linguistics]] in the Department of [[Philology]]. She then attended [[University of Vilnius]] to pursue [[graduate school|graduate studies]] in archaeology under [[Jonas Puzinas]], linguistics, [[ethnology]], folklore and [[literature]].<ref name="WareBraukman234"/> In 1941, she married [[architect]] Jurgis Gimbutas. The following year, she completed her master's thesis, "Modes of Burial in Lithuania in the Iron Age", with honors.<ref name="WareBraukman234"/>
 
Gimbutas lived through great turmoil in her homeland during the [[Second World War]], which was under successive [[History of Lithuania#First Soviet occupation|Soviet]] and [[History of Lithuania#Nazi occupation|Nazi occupation]] from 1940–1941 and 1941–1943, respectively.<ref>{{Harvnb|Ware|Braukman|2004|pp=234–235}}.</ref> A year after the birth of their first daughter, Danuté, in June 1942, the young Gimbutas family fled the country in the wake of the Soviet [[History of Lithuania#Return of Soviet authority|re-occupation]], first to [[Vienna]] and then to [[Innsbruck]] and [[Bavaria]].<ref name="WareBraukman235">{{Harvnb|Ware|Braukman|2004|p=235}}.</ref> In her reflection of this turbulent period, Gimbutas remarked, "Life just twisted me like a little plant, but my work was continuous in one direction."<ref>{{Harvnb|Marler|1998|p=118}}.</ref> In 1946, Gimbutas received a [[doctorate]] in [[archaeology]], with minors in [[ethnology]] and [[history of religion]], from [[Tübingen University]] with her dissertation "Prehistoric Burial Rites in Lithuania", which was translated and published in [[German language|German]] later that year.<ref name="WareBraukman235"/> While holding a postdoctoral fellowship at Tübingen the following year, Gimbutas gave birth to her second daughter, Živilé. The Gimbutas family left Germany and relocated to the United States in 1949.<ref name="WareBraukman235"/><ref>{{Harvnb|Chapman|1998|p=300}}.</ref><ref>{{Harvnb|Marler|1998|p=119}}.</ref>
 
==Career==
After arriving in the United States, Gimbutas immediately went to work at [[Harvard University]] translating Eastern European archaeological texts. She then became a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology. In 1955 she was made a Fellow of Harvard's [[Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology|Peabody Museum]].
 
===Kurgan hypothesis===
In 1956 Gimbutas introduced her ''[[Kurgan hypothesis]]'', which combined archaeological study of the distinctive ''[[Kurgan]]'' burial mounds with [[linguistics]] to unravel some problems in the study of the [[Proto-Indo-European language|Proto-Indo-European]] (PIE) speaking peoples, whom she dubbed the "Kurgans"; namely, to account for their origin and to trace their migrations into [[Europe]]. This [[hypothesis]], and the act of bridging the disciplines, has had a significant impact on [[Indo-European studies]].
 
During the 1950s and early 1960s, Gimbutas earned a reputation as a world-class specialist on the [[Bronze Age Europe|Indo-European Bronze Age]], as well as on [[Lithuanians|Lithuanian]] [[folk art]] and the [[prehistory]] of the [[Balts]] and [[Slavs]], partly summed up in her definitive opus, ''Bronze Age Cultures of Central and Eastern Europe'' (1965). In her work she reinterpreted European prehistory in light of her backgrounds in [[linguistics]], [[ethnology]], and the [[Religious studies|history of religions]], and challenged many traditional assumptions about the beginnings of [[European civilization]].
 
As a professor of archaeology at [[UCLA]] from 1963 to 1989, Gimbutas directed major [[excavation]]s of [[Neolithic]] sites in southeastern Europe between 1967 and 1980, including [[Sitagroi]] and [[Achilleion (Thessaly)|Achilleion]] in [[Thessaly]] (Greece). Digging through layers of earth representing a period of time before contemporary estimates for Neolithic habitation in Europe — where other archaeologists would not have expected further finds — she unearthed a great number of [[artifacts]] of daily life and of [[Cult (religion)|religious cults]], which she researched and documented throughout her career.
 
===Late feminist archaeology===
Gimbutas gained unexpected fame — and notoriety — with her last three books: ''The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe'' (1974); ''The Language of the Goddess'' (1989), which inspired an exhibition in [[Wiesbaden]], 1993/94; and her final book, ''The Civilization of the Goddess'' (1991), which presented an overview of her speculations about [[Neolithic]] cultures across Europe: housing patterns, social structure, art, religion, and the nature of literacy.
 
''The Civilization of the Goddess'' articulated what Gimbutas saw as the differences between the Old European system, which she considered [[goddess]]- and woman-centered ("matristic"), and the Bronze Age Indo-European [[patriarchal]] ("androcratic") culture which supplanted it. According to her interpretations, gynocentric and gylanic societies were peaceful, they honored [[homosexuality|homosexuals]], and they espoused [[Economic egalitarianism|economic equality]].
 
The "androcratic", or male-dominated, Kurgan peoples, on the other hand, invaded Europe and imposed upon its natives the [[hierarchy|hierarchical]] rule of male [[warrior]]s.
 
Gimbutas' books and papers are housed, along with those of her colleague, [[mythology|mythologist]] [[Joseph Campbell]], at the Joseph Campbell and Marija Gimbutas Library on the campus of the [[Pacifica Graduate Institute]] in [[Carpinteria, California|Carpinteria]], just south of [[Santa Barbara, California]].
 
In 1993, Marija Gimbutas received an honorary doctorate at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania. On 2 February 1994, Gimbutas died in Los Angeles. Soon afterwards she was interred in Kaunas' [[Petrašiūnai Cemetery]].
 
==Assessment==
[[Image:Gimbutas.jpg|thumb|Marija Gimbutienė commemorative plaque in [[Kaunas]], Mickevičius Street]]
[[Joseph Campbell]] and [[Ashley Montagu]]<ref>"According to anthropologist Ashley Montagu, "Marija Gimbutas has given us a veritable Rosetta Stone of the greatest heuristic value for future work in the hermeneutics of archaeology and anthropology." [http://www.online.pacifica.edu/cgl/Gimbutasbio]</ref><ref name="Steinfels90">[[Peter Steinfels]] (1990) ''[http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE1DD1631F930A25751C0A966958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all Idyllic Theory Of Goddesses Creates Storm]''. NY Times, February 13, 1990</ref> each compared the importance of Marija Gimbutas' output to the historical importance of the [[Rosetta Stone]] in deciphering Egyptian [[Egyptian hieroglyphs|hieroglyph]]s. Campbell provided a foreword to a new edition of Gimbutas' ''The Language of the Goddess'' (1989) before he died, and often said how profoundly he regretted that her research on the Neolithic cultures of Europe had not been available when he was writing ''The Masks of God''.
 
===Criticism===
 
David Anthony, professor of anthropology at [[Hartwick College]], disputed Gimbutas's assertion that there was a widespread matriarchal society prior to the Kurgan incursion, and pointed out that Europe had hillforts and weapons, and presumably warfare, long before the Kurgan.<ref name="Steinfels90"/>
 
Andrew Fleming, "The Myth of the Mother Goddess," (''World Archaeology'' 1969)<ref>[http://www.lamp.ac.uk/archanth/staff/fleming.htm Fleming 1969]</ref> disagreed with Gimbutas's idea that Neolithic spirals, circles, and dots were symbols for eyes; that eyes, faces, and genderless figures were symbols of a female; or that certain of Gimbutas' female figures were symbols of a goddess or goddesses. Critics also point to [[grave goods]] as characterizing more familiar Neolithic [[gender roles]], for which they allege Gimbutas did not account, and question her emphasis on female figures when many male or asexual figures were also found at archaeological sites. [[Peter Ucko]]<ref>[http://www.ucl.ac.uk/archaeology/staff/profiles/ucko.htm Peter UCKO: Institute of Archaeology UCL<!-- Bot generated title -->]</ref> speculated that Gimbutas's alleged fertility figures were nothing more than Neolithic [[doll]]s and [[toy]]s.
 
Gimbutas' attempts at deciphering [[Vinča signs|Neolithic signs]] as [[ideograms]], in ''The Language of the Goddess'' (1989), received the stiffest scholarly resistance of all her speculations.{{Fact|date=August 2008}}
 
==Influence on Neo-Pagan movement==
Gimbutas's theories have been extended and embraced by a number of authors in the [[Neopagan]] movement, although her peers often regarded Gimbutas's conclusions as speculative. Gimbutas did identify the diverse and complex Paleolithic and Neolithic female representations she recognized as depicting a single universal [[Great Goddess]], but also manifesting as a range of female deities: snake goddess, bee goddess, bird goddess, mountain goddess, Mistress of the Animals, etc., which were not necessarily ubiquitous throughout Europe.
 
In a tape entitled "The Age of the Great Goddess," she discusses the various manifestations of the Goddess which occur, and stresses the ultimate unity behind them all of the [[Earth]] as feminine.
 
In 2004, filmmaker [[Donna Read]] and [[Neopagan]] author and activist [[Starhawk]] released a collaborative documentary film about the life and work of Gimbutas, ''Signs Out of Time''.
 
==See also==
*[[Kurgan hypothesis]]
*[[Alexander Häusler]], a critic of Gimbutas' "Kurgan culture"
*[[Colin Renfrew]], suggesting alternatives to the "Kurgan culture".
*[[J. P. Mallory]] and the [[Yamna culture]]
 
==References==
{{reflist|2}}
 
===Sources===
* {{citation|last=Chapman|first=John|chapter=The impact of modern invasions and migrations on archaeological explanation: A biographical sketch of Marija Gimbutas|title=Excavating Women: A History of Women in European Archaeology|editor1-last=Díaz-Andreu|editor1-first=Margarita|editor2-last=Sørensen|editor2-first=Marie Louise Stig|year=1998|publisher=[[Routledge]]|location=[[New York City|New York]]|pages=295–314|isbn=0-415-15760-9}}.
* {{citation|last=Häusler|first=Alexander|chapter=Über Archäologie und den Ursprung der Indogermanen|title=Whither archaeology? Papers in honour of Evzen Neustupny|editor1-last=Kuna|editor1-first=Martin|editor2-last=Venclová|editor2-first=Natalie|year=1995|publisher=Institute of Archaeology|location=[[Prague]]|pages=211–229|isbn=8090193404}}.
* {{citation|last=Marler|first=Joan|title=Realm of the Ancestors: An Anthology in Honor of Marija Gimbutas|year=1997|publisher=Knowledge, Ideas & Trends|location=[[Manchester, Connecticut|Manchester]], [[Connecticut]]|isbn=1879198258}}.
* {{citation|last=Marler|first=Joan|chapter=Marija Gimbutas: Tribute to a Lithuanian Legend|editor1-last=LaFont|editor1-first=Suzanne|title=Women in Transition: Voices from Lithuania|year=1998|publisher=[[State University of New York Press]]|location=[[Albany, New York|Albany]], [[New York]]|isbn=0-7914-3811-2}}.
* {{citation|last=Meskell|first=Lynn|title=Goddesses, Gimbutas and 'New Age' Archaeology|journal=[[Antiquity (journal)|Antiquity]]|volume=69|year=1995|pages=74–86}}.
* {{citation|last1=Ware|first1=Susan|last2=Braukman|first2=Stacy Lorraine|title=Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary Completing the Twentieth Century|year=2004|publisher=[[Harvard University Press]]|location=[[Cambridge, Massachusetts|Cambridge]], [[Massachusetts]]|isbn=0-674-01488-X}}.
 
==Works==
* Gimbutas, Marija 1946. ''Die Bestattung in Litauen in der vorgeschichtlichen Zeit.'' Tübingen: In Kommission bei J.C.B. Mohr.
* Gimbutas, Marija: ''Ancient symbolism in Lithuanian folk art.'' Philadelphia: American Folklore Society , 1958. Memoirs of the American Folklore Society 49.
* Dexter, Miriam Robbins and Edgar C. Polomé, eds. 1997, "Varia on the Indo-European Past: Papers in Memory of Marija Gimbutas." Journal of Indo-European Studies Monograph #19. Washington, DC: The Institute for the Study of Man.
 
== Nexus externi ==
==External links==
*[http://www.vaidilute.com/books/gimbutas/gimbutas-contents.html Marija Gimbutas' "The Balts" e-book]
*[http://www.pacifica.edu/innercontentlib.aspx?id=1750&terms=Gimbutas Joseph Campbell and Marija Gimbutas Library]